As of March 2018
General Statement of Policy
This policy recognises that the health and safety of all employees within QuestCare is the responsibility of company management. In fulfilling this responsibility management has a duty to provide and maintain so far as reasonably practicable a working environment that is safe and without risks to health and includes:
The General Manager is responsible for implementing, updating and reviewing this policy. The WHS Policy is to be reviewed annually and updated to ensure that it complies with current legislation, Codes of Practice and Standards. The health and safety duties of management at all levels will be detailed, and company procedures for training and staff support should be followed. In fulfilling the objectives of this policy, management is committed to regular consultation with employees to ensure that the policy operates effectively, and that health and safety issues are regularly reviewed.
Recognising the hazards occurring in the Disability Industry, QuestCare will take every practicable step to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. Therefore:
As the client’s home is a workplace, clients must provide, as far as is reasonable, a safe working environment for workers coming into their home. Clients may be asked to:
Tobacco Products Regulation Act requirements
Employers must ensure that workers are not exposed to smoke in the workplace, including client homes.
Procedures must be implemented to ensure workers are not exposed to cigarette smoke e.g. agreement for the client to refrain from smoking while the worker is present.
QuestCare is committed to meet their duty of care to clients while maintaining their obligation to protect the health and safety of workers. Where this is in doubt and the safety of workers appears at risk then the work is to stop. The workers will conduct a risk assessment and develop a plan to manage the risk.
Solutions must ensure the safety of both the worker and the client, and wherever possible should not disadvantage either party. The client should, wherever possible, be involved in conducting risk assessments and developing solutions. In some situations it may be necessary to develop contracts with clients in order to provide a safe working environment.
Some situations require effective negotiation skills to enable a positive outcome for both the client and the service provider. QuestCare will follow this process:
Process for Reporting a WHS concern
Additional WHS Information
If you require further information about WHS, including legislation and information applicable in the ACT, you can visit Worksafe ACT at http://www.worksafe.act.gov.au/health_safety in NSW visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au
If you have any questions about WHS which you feel may impact on your job functions or questions about Duty of Care, we encourage you to speak with the QuestCare General Manager or Assistant Manager as soon as possible.
Safe working tips
Safe working tips for workers include:
Police offer the following advice on dealing with aggressive behaviour:
Effective hazard management is the key to preventing/eliminating or minimising workplace illness and injury. Hazard management is most effective when it is managed on a systems basis rather than ad hoc. This involves five steps (often referred to as the SAFER approach):
The major goal of managing hazards in the community is worker safety. They must be made aware that, if their personal safety is threatened, it is better to leave than remain in an at-risk environment.
A hazard is something that has the potential to cause injury or illness.
To identify hazards you should:
Some hazards will be more obvious than others. When you are conducting an inspection include both the outside of a home and the inside. Review the environment (lighting, access, dust and noise), security, housekeeping, work tasks, equipment and check for any hazardous substances.
It is important to consult with the client when conducting a safety check and to involve them as much as possible, informing them of any issues identified which may affect their, or a Support Worker’s personal safety.
Risk assessment is deciding the level of risk associated with a hazard in order to plan what to do about it. Risk assessment is best done in consultation with the people working in the area. To estimate the level of risk, you and your workers should consider:
You may need to consider:
If a risk assessment is required follow procedures outlined in the QuestCare Risk Assessment Policy and Procedures
Hazardous manual tasks are defined as any activity that requires a person to use their body (musculoskeletal system) to perform work. This includes lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, holding or restraining something, and tasks which require repetitive actions, sustained postures and exposure to vibration.
Manual handling is a major cause of injury in the community sector. These injuries may result from:
Manual task hazards should be identified during the initial home safety check, but workers may also identify these when the tasks are being done:
When manual task hazards are identified, assessing the risk requires you to consider a number of factors. These include:
Slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls result in many injuries to workers and clients in the community setting. Major slip, trip and fall hazards include:
Assessment of the risk of these hazards requires you to consider the location of the hazard, how often workers (and clients) are exposed and the potential severity of an injury.
Isolated or remote work
Community workers at times find themselves alone in situations where their access to support/help is limited.
When assessing the risks to workers, employers need to consider how likely the threat is and how severe the outcome may be. You and your workers should consider the following:
Where the potential for a problem is identified, solutions must aim to eliminate or reduce the risk. In most situations, planning and technology will assist this.
Challenging or aggressive behaviour
Workplace violence is defined as ‘any incident where an employer or worker is abused, threatened or assaulted in situations relating to their work’ and includes issues such as sexual harassment, bullying and challenging client behaviours.
Threats to the personal safety of community workers may arise from interaction with clients, client’s family members or friends, or members of the general public. This issue presents a particular problem, as community workers often work alone and after dark. The work is conducted within another person’s environment and workers can be confronted with values, attitudes and belief systems at odds with their specific training and experience.
It is sometimes difficult to anticipate who else may be in the house at the time workers visit or to control the behaviour of visitors. As a result, workers may be at risk of experiencing challenging, aggressive and/or violent behaviour from a client or a client’s relative or visitor/s.
In most situations, planning and good interpersonal skills will significantly reduce the likelihood of situations deteriorating to the point where workers are threatened. Workers should be trained to always be aware of their surroundings and how to de-escalate tense situations.
Challenging behaviour may include:
These behaviours can put the physical or psychological health of workers at risk. There may also be an accumulative effect, that is, while a one-off incident may not cause psychological harm; repeated incidents may result in harm. Further, psychological harm from the incident will vary in degree from worker to worker depending on their past experiences, values and beliefs.
Factors that may contribute to clients displaying challenging behaviour include:
When facing the risk of challenging behaviour, you and your workers should consider whether the client exhibiting challenging behaviours has control of their behaviour or is without control e.g. due to brain injury, dementia, mental illness etc. Those who do have control should be made aware of the natural consequences of their behaviour e.g. changes to the services provided.
Where clients do not have control, it is essential to identify triggers and to prevent these occurring or to minimise the risk of hazardous outcomes. Details relating to the client’s capacity to control behaviours, triggers, risk assessment, strategies to address specific behaviours and any actions taken must be recorded and communicated to relevant workers.
The worker’s perception of aggressive behaviour is important. Not all expressed anger is a problem to workers, but if ‘it hurts your feelings’ or ‘makes you feel uncomfortable’ it is an incident and should be reported.
See QuestCare Behaviour Intervention Policy for further advice
A safe and healthy working environment includes the control of risk from exposure to infection and infectious diseases. The nature of an aged care facility is such that an infectious disease can spread quickly to affect many residents, Workers and others.
See QuestCare Infection Control and Waste Management Policy for further advice
Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE) selected carefully and used and maintained properly are an important part of a WH&S program. However, they should only be considered after all possible measures have been taken to eliminate or reduce hazards.
This procedure sets the guidelines for use of protective clothing and equipment to achieve a safe and healthy working environment.
Types of footwear affect the risk of slips and falls and can also contribute to back pain and fatigue. Shoes should be flat-heeled, closed-in and supportive. Soles should provide good grip.
Eye protection may be required for certain jobs or work areas. It is important that you wear this protection to prevent serious eye damage. You will be told where eye protection is required and the type of protection to be worn.
Hand wash for at least 30 seconds and include washing up to the wrists.
Hand washing procedures for Support workers is imperative to reduce the risks of cross infection. The purpose of hand washing is to remove dirt and germs, and to protect yourself from infections and disease. Times that hands should be washed are:
The recommended length of time for hand washing is at least 30 seconds, and includes washing up to the wrists. Paper towel is preferred for hand drying as hot-air dryers are only effective to dry to 55%. Paper towel should then be disposed of in an appropriate bin. Turn taps off with the elbows if possible to reduce the risk of recontamination.
Personal cleanliness is important in helping to prevent illness and the spread of infection. Wash your hands before eating, immediately after using any chemicals and before and after going to the toilet. You will need to launder your uniform daily to reduce the risk of cross infections. Any contaminated (e.g. blood, chemical) protective clothing will need to be laundered or disposed of appropriately.
Clients will inform you of the requirements of waste management during the induction. Some guidelines are:
See QuestCare Infection Control and Waste Management Policy for further advice
Vehicle and driver safety
Travelling between clients’ homes and/or community venues presents a number of hazards for workers in community settings. Vehicles may belong to the organisation or the workers may use their own car. Where workers use their own vehicle for work, they must demonstrate that it is in registered and in a safe, acceptable working condition
Issues you may need to consider include:
Once you have identified hazards, you then need to assess the level of risk and implement controls.
Workers are sometimes required to provide services to clients who live in domestic squalor. Severe domestic squalor includes extreme household uncleanliness and hoarding, where the accumulation of materials has led to the living environment being unclean, unsanitary, dangerous or a fire risk.
Where clients live in severe domestic squalor, circumstances are usually so complex that a multi-agency approach is the best way to achieve positive outcomes e.g. local council, Housing, Mental Health Unit, local aged care providers, general practitioner (GP), Aged Care Assessment Team, and even the RSPCA, with one organisation to manage the case. The different agencies can provide different types of expertise, as well as share the associated costs related to service provision in these situations.
Quite often a client will refuse assistance, due to a wide range of reasons. Their refusal may be related to a lack of insight about the squalid condition of their home and the risk it presents. Community organisations have a duty of care to persevere, however, if the client’s health and safety is at risk or their neighbour’s health and safety is impacted. Success is more likely if time is taken to build a relationship of trust before proceeding with services.
It is critical that the underlying reason for the squalor is determined if an ongoing solution is to be found. The aim is to identify any existing conditions, such as dementia, malnutrition, infection, psychiatric condition, substance abuse etc, which may be contributing to the situation.
Once the cause is identified, the best approach can be determined. Clients with hoarding disorders will need support from mental health professionals, as any clean-up will cause significant stress.
Where the squalor does not present a risk to the person, neighbours or the fabric of the building, intervention does not need to be immediate, but a plan of support does need to be developed to prevent further deterioration causing problems in the future.
When sending workers into a home where there is squalor or unsanitary conditions, the actual risk to workers must be considered along with what controls could be put in place.
The actions required to ensure the health and safety of workers entering a client’s home where there is squalor will depend on the work being conducted. For example, taking a client shopping presents no risk to workers and should not stop the client getting help. Risk assessments of the tasks, considering the environment, must be made and controls implemented.
Each situation is unique, but the following control approaches have proved effective in some situations:
Duty of Care
QuestCare has a duty of care to all clients that we are supporting and others in the general
community when working within a community environment. A duty of care is breached if a person
behaves unreasonably or fails to act (which can also be unreasonable in a particular situation). A
duty of care can be breached either by action or inaction.
Harm can fall under any or all of these four headings:
• Emotional; and
Duty of Care means that while clients are in our care we will do everything reasonable to take care
of their safety and well being at all times. QuestCare has a responsibility to be careful where injury
or harm is foreseeable. QuestCare also has a responsibility and Duty of Care to staff. We will not be
able to provide support(s) where duty of care to service user and/or staff person is compromised.
Duty of care means being in a position where someone else is relying on you to be careful, and
where, if you are not careful, it is reasonably predictable that the other person might suffer harm.
The standard of care is referred to as the measure of what is reasonable practice or conduct and is
determined by a range of factors.
• The standards that are generally seen as applicable to the situation.
• Other laws and regulations that might apply to the circumstances.
• The need to meet the duty of care to all other persons who might be involved.
• Current community values about what is acceptable practice.
• The level of information and support given to the Support Worker providing support
services to the Consumer.
The standard of care will vary considerably depending on the person providing the support and is
linked back to the nature of the support that the person with a disability is relying on and the skills
and experience necessary to provide that support.
The duty of care in regard to provision of support is shared depending on the situation
• Client, if able, to provide relevant and timely information that may affect the risk to the
Support Worker and/or other parties involved.
• Carer of the Client to provide relevant and timely information that may affect the risk to the
Support Worker providing support to do so in the manner agreed and in accordance with all
organisational and community standards and to communicate relevant and timely
information that may affect the risk to all parties involved.
• Case Managers requesting the support for the Consumer to provide relevant and timely
information that may affect the risk to any and/or all parties by liaising with all parties as
Breach of duty of care is when an appropriate standard of care exists and the standard is not met.
The reasonableness of what a person has done or not done is assessed by considering the person’s
skills and suitability for the situation and whether the situation was foreseeable. The preparedness
for the situation is also assessed, proving the importance of risk management procedures required
of each Request for Support.
A negligence incidence may result in some form of harm or loss to the person(s) whom the duty of
care was owed. Resulting bodily injury, death, economic loss or emotional stress may lead to
damages claimed. There is also the potential for unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on the
Clients’ freedoms and autonomy in attempting to minimise risks.
QuestCare will provide relevant and up to date information to all employees facilitating support of
Clients and to Support Workers providing support, on organisational, community and disability
standards. QuestCare will also provide relevant and timely client risk management strategies as
provided by the relevant Case Managers and/or others, as necessary.
PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOM FROM ABUSE
QuestCare affirms the right of people with disabilities to live their lives free from neglect, abuse and
exploitation. The purpose of this policy is to:
• promote the human rights of our clients, including children and young people;
• create a service environment where risks to the rights and well-being of our clients are
• Ensure that if we become aware of an instance of abuse or neglect, we respond promptly,
professionally and compassionately to address the situation in accordance with the
requirements of the National Disability Services Standards.
The scope of this policy applies to all QuestCare services. The policy applies to all employees,
including paid and unpaid staff, students, advocates, contractors and others who may act on behalf
of QuestCare from time to time.
Other internal policies and documents relevant to this policy include but are not limited to the
• Code of Conduct;
• Human Resource Management Policy;
• Complaints and Participant Feedback Policy;
• Privacy and Confidentiality Policy; and
• Duty of Care Policy
QuestCare has a duty of care to ensure that the rights of our clients are respected, their well-being is
safeguarded, and that they are not exposed to any form of abuse and neglect while in our service.
We expect that everyone who is associated with QuestCare, and is involved in providing services to
our participants will share our commitment to maintaining an organisational culture that:
• upholds the value and dignity of our clients;
• builds trusting relationships with our clients, their families and carers;
• provides services in an environment that is safe and welcoming for everyone;
• empowers our clients by helping them to understand their rights;
• makes everyone feel safe to raise concerns;
• responds proactively to concerns and complaints when they arise; and
• Fosters collaboration with other organisations in upholding clients’ human rights and
preventing abuse and neglect.
Preventing abuse and neglect
Abuse and neglect is defined to include, but is not limited to: domestic, family and interpersonal
violence; physical and sexual violence and abuse; psychological or emotional harm and abuse;
constraints and restrictive practices; forced treatments and interventions; humiliation and
harassment; financial abuse; violations of privacy; systemic abuse; physical and emotional neglect;
passive neglect; and wilful deprivation.
We will minimise the risk of our clients’ rights being infringed, or them being subject to abuse and
neglect, through the following
• Promotion of a zero tolerance towards abuse and neglect and actively encouraging our staff to
report any suspicions
• QuestCare recruitment procedures will be of a high standard and we will ensure that the right
staff are appointed through:
• pre-appointment screening of new staff, as per NDIS requirements;
• completion of Working with Vulnerable People Checks;
• checking references (as necessary);
• placing new staff on a minimum probationary period of three months;
• ensuring new staff go through an induction and orientation process and that their
performance is regularly monitored during probation; and
• Staff orientation and induction will include information about client rights, issues of abuse and
neglect and the requirements reporting.
• Staff meetings will be used to remind staff of their responsibilities for safeguarding clients and
to raise any matters of concern.
• Following initial induction of all staff in relation to client rights, we will offer refresher training
• Information about this policy will be provided to new clients and guardians as part of the
service access process.
• We will use existing processes such as family meetings and client meetings to provide
information to clients and their families and carers, to increase their knowledge and decrease
their vulnerability to abuse and neglect.
• We will identify resources that will assist and support us to empower our clients in relation to
issues of human rights and self-advocacy, and use them in training.
• We will work collaboratively with other organisations, and establish referral practices.
• We will foster a safe, supportive environment which encourages everyone to raise concerns
without fear of retribution.
• We will display value statements, service principles and information about people’s rights in our
premises, through newsletters, our website and in written material sent to new clients.
• The standards of care we provide will be actively monitored.
Responding to abuse and neglect
If a client’s rights are infringed, or we have reason to believe that they have been exploited,
discriminated, abused or neglected, we will respond quickly, professionally and compassionately.
It is the personal responsibility of all staff, students on placement, advocates, contractors and others
who may act on behalf of QuestCare from time to time to:
• Communicate any concerns relating to an infringement of human rights, or the abuse or neglect
of a participant to their Manager within 24 hours of the concern arising, or immediately if it is
believed that the client is at imminent risk of harm. The Manager will decide how the matter
should be managed.
• The Manager will reassure the reporting staff member that their concerns will be managed in a
confidential and professional manner, and that they have acted correctly in bringing their
concern to attention.
• The Manager will assist the staff member raising the concern or allegation to factually and nonjudgementally document an account of the concern or allegation. This should be done within 24
hours of the Manager being made aware of the concern.
• If the Manager believes that the client is at immediate risk, he or she will take whatever steps
are required to mitigate the risk, and ensure the client’s safety while the matter is fully
• Except for staff who have been given specific authority to do so, no staff member will undertake
any level of investigation of a concern or allegation.
• Generally, it will be expected that a staff member who the client trusts (determined by the
Manager) informs them of the concern, reassures them and ensures their involvement in
deciding the course of action to be taken. However, it is recognised that in some situations this
might not be possible due to the client’s disability or the nature of the concern. If the client is
not to be involved in decision-making about the concern, the reasons for this decision will be
documented, and consideration given to the need to involve an advocate to represent their
• The Manager will jointly decide on the appropriate action to be taken according to the
circumstances, and generally taking into account the client’s views. The action could be:
• to manage the matter within the organisation;
• to engage in discussion with family members or advocate;
• to elicit the advice and expertise of another organisation or individual from outside of
• to involve an organisation with the required legislative mandate to take action (eg
Australian Federal Police, the Office of the Public Advocate);
• to take no further action at this time, but continue to monitor the situation and review
at a specified later date; and
• To take no further action.
• The decision that is taken and the reasons that led to the decision will be documented by the
• If the matter is assessed to involve any actions that are unlawful, the Manager must
immediately advise the General Manager and Directors.
• Duty of care carries greater weight than the duty to maintain confidentiality in matters of care
and protection. This means that the matter may be discussed between those reporting or
investigating, but not with any other person. This includes confidentiality of client and alleged
• In reporting a concern/allegation, staff will ensure that the client’s right to dignity,
confidentiality and privacy is maintained in accordance with the QuestCare Privacy and
Confidentiality Policy and the requirements of the Privacy Act.
• If the matter is considered to be a serious incident, it must be reported to the Disability Services
Commission by the General Manager within seven (7) working days, in accordance with the
Serious Incident Reporting policy.
• The Manager will provide feedback to support the staff member who raised the concern or
made the allegation regarding the outcome.
• Debriefing will be undertaken with all relevant individuals when the matter reaches a
conclusion. The Manager will determine who the appropriate person is to conduct the
• When the matter is concluded, the General Manager will arrange for a review to be conducted,
to evaluate the organisation’s performance in responding to the matter, and to identify
opportunities to develop strategies to prevent a future occurrence of a similar incident.
Mandatory reporting of children or young people who are at risk of significant harm
In the ACT a mandated report is made under the Children and Young People Act 2008.
The Act (Under Division 11.1.2) stipulates that mandated reporting relates to a belief or suspicion
That a child or young person
a) Is being abused; or
b) Is being neglected; or
c) Is at risk of abuse or neglect
As direct carers for children and young people Support Workers are mandated to report. Reports are
made to Child and Youth Protection Services, Community Services Directorate, ACT Government
In NSW to report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24
hours/7 days) Department of Family and Community Services
Exploitation occurs when someone or something (e.g., a material resource, an opportunity) is used
or taken advantage of.
Treating a person or particular groupof people differently, especially in a worse way from the way
in which you treat other people, because of their skin colour, sex,,sexuality or disability
Abuse is defined as any action that intentionally harms or injures another person
To fail to give due care, attention, or time to or fail (to do something) through thoughtlessness or
carelessness or. to ignore or disregard
Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults Protecting Children and
Vulnerable Adults Policy
1. Background Information
Promoting the safety, wellbeing and dignity of children and vulnerable adults is consistent with the
Mission and Values of QuestCare.
Both ACT and NSW in which QuestCare operates has legislation which applies to working with
children or, in the case of ACT, vulnerable people including children (see table below).
Legislation applicable to working with children or vulnerable people
Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012
Child Protection (Working with Children) Regulation 2013
Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011
Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Regulation 2012
The Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy complies with legislative requirements and,
above and beyond this, seeks to establish best practice arrangements for the protection of children
and vulnerable adults..
The following terms have specific meanings in this Policy.
“Child / Children” is a person or persons under the age of 18.
“Child abuse and/or neglect” can generally be defined as occurring when a child has been, is being,
or is likely to be subjected to physical, emotional or sexual actions or inactions which have resulted
in, or are likely to result in, harm or injury to the child. This definition is a generalisation of the
definitions at law. Jurisdictionally applicable definitions can be obtained from the relevant legislation
in each state and territory.
“Concerning behaviour” is the actions or inactions of a person that cause or are perceived to cause
or could potentially cause harm (defined below) to a child or vulnerable adult.
“Harm” is defined as the detrimental impact on the physical, psychological, emotional or social
safety, wellbeing and development of a child or vulnerable adult.
“Vulnerable adult” refers to an adult who is experiencing disadvantage and accesses a regulated
activity or service in relation to the disadvantage. “Disadvantage” refers to but is not limited to
physical or mental disability; social or financial hardship; and difficulty communicating in English and;
therefore includes but is not limited to homeless people, victims of crime, migrants, refugees and
asylum seekers, and people with addictions.
“Working with Children or Vulnerable People Check” or “WWC/V Check” refers to the following in
the states or territory in which ACU operates or equivalent arrangements in other jurisdictions:
Working With Children Check NSW
Working with Vulnerable People Registration ACT
3. Policy Purpose
The purpose of this Policy is to set out QuestCare’s commitment to protecting children and
vulnerable adults. The Policy provides information about the following:
• QuestCare’s policy position in relation to the protection of children and vulnerable adults;
• risk planning and management requirements;
• protocols for activities with children and/or vulnerable adults;
• background checking requirements;
• expectations in relation to reporting and responding to concerning behaviour; and
• roles and responsibilities.
4. Scope of Policy
4.1 QuestCare staff
This Policy applies to all QuestCare staff whenever they come into contact (including incidental
contact) with children and/or vulnerable adults when they are conducting QuestCare business or
5. Policy Statement
All children and vulnerable adults who interact with QuestCare staff have the right to feel safe and
to be safe this includes an expectation that they will be free from exploitation, abuse, discrimination,
harassment or neglect.
QuestCare is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and vulnerable adults who
interact with our staff. QuestCare does not tolerate any behaviour which is inconsistent with this
commitment by any staff member.
The achievement of a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults requires the commitment
of all QuestCare staff. Activities and behaviour of all QuestCare staff must contribute to the safety
and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults and not expose them to harm. Harm can be caused
by action or inaction. Therefore, all QuestCare staff members share responsibility for the safety and
wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults by complying with this Policy.
6. Education, training and awareness raising
QuestCare is committed to providing opportunities for all staff to participate in education, training
and awareness raising activities relevant to protecting children and vulnerable adults. Knowledge
and the sharing of knowledge in relation to this subject is critical to the effective implementation of
QuestCare’s specific commitments to education, training and awareness raising in relation to
protecting children and vulnerable adults include the following:
This Policy will be communicated to all new staff through induction process (as applicable)
7. Risk Planning and Management
The objective of risk management within the context of protecting children and vulnerable adults is
to remove or minimise potential risks to the safety and wellbeing of children and/or vulnerable
adults. It involves identifying and analysing hazards, assessing the risks associated with those
hazards and identifying strategies to control, remove or minimise the risk.
9. Protocols for Activities with Children and Vulnerable Adults
The Code of Conduct for staff articulates QuestCare’s expectations of behaviour of all staff. The
protocols set out below complement the Code and provide further guidance to all staff on how to
behave when they are engaged in activities related to children and vulnerable adults.
interactions in the
presence of other
• To help children feel safe, avoid being alone with children. Ensure that
another adult is present, or close by and able to observe interactions
when providing one-on-one services to children or vulnerable adults.
• Wherever possible, conduct interactions in professional spaces and not
in a home environment.
• Do not transport unaccompanied children unless parental consent is
• Do not initiate, encourage or accommodate unnecessary physical
• Deal sensitively with inappropriate physical contact and report it to a
• Ensure that any physical contact with a child or vulnerable adult is
appropriate and can be explained in terms of the appropriate activity and
needs of the child or vulnerable adult.
at all times
• Only make contact in an official capacity and as part of duties.
• Avoid discussing personal details.
• Be a positive role model.
• Do not show favouritism and treat all children and vulnerable adults
equitably and respectfully.
• Any steps taken to manage disruptive or unsafe behaviour should not be
humiliating or isolating.
• While in hearing range of children, avoid conversations with other adults
on adult or personal subject matter (e.g. relationships, lifestyle, alcohol
• Ensure that photographing, audio recording or filming via any medium is
authorised in writing by the parent or guardian (see the Procedures for
guidance in relation to arrangements) and/or child or vulnerable adult,
and is used solely for the purposes for which they have been authorised.
• Ensure that there is no identifying personal information in photographs or
film footage of children or vulnerable adults, e.g. name tags; and avoid
images of children in minimal clothing, e.g. swimwear.
• Take steps to encourage the responsible use of personal equipment e.g.
mobile devices should not be used to photograph, record or film.
• Do not provide personal contact details and always use A email and
telephone for communication.
• Do not “friend” or “connect” via social media unless for purposes related to
the work and with the consent of the parent or guardian.
• Be aware of issues associated with online safety.
Listen and act • If a child or vulnerable adult raises a concern, ask open questions, listen
patiently, be compassionate and reassure them; and then take appropriate
action to address the concern.
• If a child or vulnerable adult reports concerning behaviour which has
occurred, take action to report the behaviour in accordance with section
11 of this Policy.
Seek parental consent
and assent from the
child or vulnerable
• Seek consent from a parent or guardian of a child or vulnerable adult
where prudent to do so. Refer to the Procedures for further guidance in
relation to this matter.
• Where appropriate, seek assent written from the child or vulnerable adult
to participate in an activity e.g. a research study.
• Select venues and spaces for activities and events which facilitate the
personal safety and access of children and vulnerable adults.
• Ensure that principles of personal safety are a requirement in design briefs
for new and refurbished spaces (e.g. visibility into rooms accessed by
children and vulnerable adults).
10. Background checks
QuestCare is committed to applying a high standard of practice in relation to background checks for
all staff engaged in activities related to children or vulnerable adults. Background checks for staff
involved in activities with children and/or vulnerable adults may be conducted through:
• Working with Children or Vulnerable People Checks (herein referred to as WWVP checks)
• Police (criminal record) checks (if necessary);
QuestCare is committed to having arrangements in place for WWVP checks which ensure the
• All staff have or obtain the appropriate WWVP check clearance when:
• they engage in activities which involve children and/or vulnerable adults, and
• those activities meet the criteria for WWVP checks within the State or Territory in
which the activities are undertaken.
• WWVP check clearances are monitored to ensure that all staff required to have checks have
valid clearances in place.
• Any staff who does not have a WWVP check clearance (whether that be due to a failure to
obtain clearance or the removal of an existing clearance) are not permitted to engage in
activities with children and/or vulnerable adults.
• From time to time the WWVP clearance status of all staff is audited.
• Information in relation to individual WWVP checks is managed appropriately and in
accordance with confidentiality and privacy requirements.
11. Reporting and responding to concerning behaviour
Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults relies on all staff accepting
responsibility to report any concerning behaviour towards them. This responsibility applies to
behaviour that is witnessed or disclosed to any staff by another person including a child or
vulnerable adult. See Critical incident Management Policy
It is the policy of QuestCare to respect the confidentiality of information and the privacy of
13 All QuestCare staff
The responsibilities of all staff include the following:
• contributing to the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults and not exposing
them to harm;
• cooperating fully with any action by QuestCare to ensure the safety for children and
• ensuring clients are free from exploitation, abuse, discrimination, harassment and neglect
• completing required education and training in relation to the protection of children and
vulnerable adults in accordance with section 6 of this Policy;
• seeking approval of activities involving children and/or vulnerable adults in accordance with
section 7 of this Policy and the Procedures;
• complying with the protocols set out in section 9 of this Policy where they engage in
activities which involve children and/or vulnerable adults;
• reporting any concerning behaviour in accordance with section 11 of this Policy and the
• undertaking background checks if required by QuestCare in accordance with section 10 of
this Policy and the Procedures. If a WWVP check is required, ensuring that the WWVP
clearance remains valid and is renewed in accordance with the requirements of the relevant
state or territory government agency. They are also responsible for informing QuestCare of
changes to their WWC/V clearance status.
Critical Incident Management Policy and Procedure
1. Background Information
QuestCare has a large number of staff who work across numerous locations across the ACT and
surrounds. QuestCare recognises that a critical incident may take place on any work site at any time
of the day or night.
This policy and procedure is intended to provide a clear process for managing critical incidents
involving client and/or staff in order to minimise the risk of independent action and to assist in
ensuring that each case is managed effectively.
The Critical Incident Management Policy encompasses the management of critical incidents from a
human, hazard identification, and risk management perspective. It details the arrangements that
apply to critical incident management in the context of the QuestCare’s Risk Management
2. Policy Purpose
The policy provides the guidance for QuestCare to plan for, respond to and manage critical incidents
ensuring that QuestCare meets its duty of care obligations in providing the highest possible standard
of health and safety and upholds its legislative obligations in relation to its staff and clients. It is to be
read in conjunction with QuestCare’s Writing and Reporting Incidents Guidelines.
3. Policy Statement
This policy and its related procedures demonstrate QuestCare’s commitment to:
• protecting the health and safety of staff and clients;
• identifying and preventing incidents and critical incidents;
• allocating appropriate resources and building relationships to manage incidents and critical
incidents in compliance with QuestCare’s mission and legal obligations;
• delivering the highest possible standard of health and safety for staff and clients in the event
of an incident or critical incident;
• evaluating the effectiveness, adequacy and ongoing suitability of its incident and critical
This policy applies to staff and clients of QuestCare while they are participating in QuestCare-related
This policy does not apply to minor injuries or accidents that affect an individual or isolated area(s)
and do not pose any additional threat or risk to staff or client. These minor incidents will be
managed through other processes, including capturing in progress notes or other communication
A moderate event that has a localised impact on staff, client and may entail some property damage.
The event has largely been contained and is unlikely to escalate in severity but still requires response
and management by QuestCare personnel. It can usually be handled using normal operating
A major event or series of events, that have the potential to severely damage QuestCare’s staff or
clients and requires a significant response and on-going management.
The incidents that must be recorded and managed are:
(a) incidents that have, or could have, caused harm to a person with disability receiving
supports or services; and
(b) acts by a person with disability that happen in connection with the provision of supports
or services and that have caused serious harm, or a risk of serious harm, to another person;
(c) reportable incidents that are alleged to have occurred in connection with the provision of
supports or services.
• Serious injury or death
• Sexual assault or abuse
• Violence, threats or abuse
• Robbery/theft with or without vio;ence
• Self harm
• Sudden or unexpected death or suicide
A restrictive practice is described as follows:
A restrictive practice is a regulated restrictive practice if it is or involves any of the following:
(a) seclusion, which is the sole confinement of a person with disability in a room or a physical space
at any hour of the day or night where voluntary exit is prevented, or not facilitated, or it is implied
that voluntary exit is not permitted;
(b) chemical restraint, which is the use of medication or chemical substance for the primary purpose
of influencing a person’s behaviour. It does not include the use of medication prescribed by a
medical practitioner for the treatment of, or to enable treatment of, a diagnosed mental disorder, a
physical illness or a physical condition;
(c) mechanical restraint, which is the use of a device to prevent, restrict, or subdue a person’s
movement for the primary purpose of influencing a person’s behaviour but does not include the use
of devices for therapeutic or non-behavioural purposes;
(d) physical restraint, which is the use or action of physical force to prevent, restrict or subdue
movement of a person’s body, or part of their body, for the primary purpose of influencing their
behaviour. Physical restraint does not include the use of a hands-on technique in a reflexive way to
guide or redirect a person away from potential harm/injury, consistent with what could reasonably
be considered the exercise of care towards a person.
(e) environmental restraint, which restrict a person’s free access to all parts of their environment,
including items or activities
The use of any of these MUST be reported to QuestCare Operations manager and via the Critical
incident Form immediately.
8. Notification Process
Any critical incident witnessed by staff of QuestCare is to be reported to Management
immediately. A formal written critical incident report must then be completed in consultation with
QuestCare management, within 24 hours Any staff involved will be formally counselled and
supported or suspended from duty, as necessary, until the matter is resolved, as necessary.
Reportable incidents include death, serious injury, abuse or neglect, unlawful sexual or physical
contact, assault, sexual misconduct and unauthorised restrictive practices.
QuestCare will, in the event of an incident or critical incident, allocate appropriate resources to
deliver the required support services. The principle of prudent over-reaction and rapid de-escalation
will be applied when considering the declaration of an incident as critical. Immediate referral to a
medical practitioner is actioned, if appropriate.
QuestCare will effectively manage incidents and critical incidents by formally reporting events.
Depending on the serious the Human Services Registrar (email@example.com 02 6207 5474) and the
Senior-Practitioner.pdf , is to be notified in the ACT and in NSW the incident is to be reported to the
NSW Ombudsman www.ombo.nsw.gov.au more advice https://www.ombo.nsw.gov.au/what-wedo/our-work/community-services/part-3c-reportable-incidents/disability-reportable-incidentsforms-and-guidelines of the circumstances of the risk, as soon as possible after the serious risk to
life, health or safety is identified.
QuestCare will report all restrictive practices and/or reportable incidents as per
– National Disability Insurance Scheme(Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules
– National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018
– Senior Practitioner Act (2018) ACT
– Ombudsman Act 1974
NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
All allegations and disclosures MUST be reported in the relevant category, even if they are currently
unsubstantiated. All reportable incidents must have one NDIS participant impacted by the incident.
Most reportable incidents are required to be notified to the NDIS Commission within 24 hours of the
provider becoming aware of the incident. This includes:
• the death of a person with disability
• serious injury of a person with disability
• abuse or neglect of a person with disability
• unlawful sexual or physical contact with, or assault of, a person with disability
• sexual misconduct committed against, or in the presence of, a person with disability, including
grooming of the person for sexual activity.
A more detailed report is required within 5 days of submitting the immediate notification. Remaining
reportable Incidents are required to be notified to the NDIS Commission within 5 days of the
provider becoming aware of the incident. This includes:
• the unauthorised use of a restrictive practice in relation to a person with disability, other than
where the use is in accordance with an authorisation (however described) of a state or territory
in relation to the person.
All communication concerning an incident or a critical incident will be coordinated by the General
(or Operations) Manager in consultation with relevant QuestCare staff.
10. Further Assistance
Staff members who require assistance with this policy should initially contact their QuestCare
Manager and if further information is required they should contact the Operations Manager.
11. Process for reporting and monitoring complaints
• At the first instance, Support Worker contacts QuestCare management to advise of incident.
Depending on the incident QuestCare management will assist Support Worker to manage
• Once any immediate danger/threat has passed Support Worker is asked to complete a
Critical Incident Report. If Client has a Senior Support Worker or Key worker this person is to
be informed of incident and report is to be forwarded to that person, who will then forward
to QuestCare management for completion and proceed with any necessary action
• Support Worker is counselled and supported in line with QuestCare policy
• Incident is to be logged in the Critical Incident Log and further action completed by relevant
• Incident and any proceeding actions to be included in the QuestCare Continuous
Improvement Action Key
• Relevant QuestCare manager/Senior support worker/Key Worker is to contact client to
advise on outcome and subsequent action in relation to incident